Something’s still “phishy” about vacation rentals

Gilles/Shutterstock
Gilles/Shutterstock
If you think the words “vacation rental” and “phishing” are all but synonymous, you’re not alone. Just talk to Ann Schutte, who recently found a rental villa with a “million-dollar” view in Sedona, Ariz., through the rental Web site VRBO.com.

A woman claiming to own the property quoted her a $645 rate for five nights if she wired her the money. “After a number of e-mails back and forth, I agreed to the rental,” says Schutte, a property manager from Phoenix. “I received a contract. Everything looked correct on the contract. It even had the rental property address and logo. I signed the agreement, and wired the money through Western Union to the U.K.”
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Vacation rental phishing scams catch more travelers

Shauna Kattler thought she’d found the ideal rental home in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for her Christmas vacation: a two-bedroom penthouse condominium with a hot tub and an impossibly perfect view of the Caribbean.

And she was getting it for the impossibly low peak-season rate of $450 a night through HomeAway.com, a popular vacation rental Web site. “Impossibly” being the operative word.
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Consumer alert: No, you don’t have a friend who was mugged in London today

Watch out. Someone pretending to be a friend is out to make a quick buck today. Don’t fall for it.

The scam, which I first wrote about last year, steals email passwords and then sends a message to your contacts, pleading for money. As I noted in a follow-up story, the swindle is relatively easy to spot — if you know what to look for.

I’ve had three emails this morning, which suggests the cybercriminals have hit the jackpot with a new phishing technique.
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Best. Comeback. Ever.

Phishing scams are getting so sophisticated that even the smartest people can fall for them. These so-called spear phishing traps demand a smart answer. Jack Healey has the perfect comeback.

First, let’s have a look at the email he received from one of these fraudsters.
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